Loar's Compromised Internalism

In Arthur Sullivan (ed.), Sensations, Thoughts, and Language: Essays in Honor of Brian Loar. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 203-224 (2019)
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According to Brian Loar, an adequate theory of intentionality must acknowledge the fundamental role phenomenology plays in the determination of intentional content. It must take into account individuals’ experience of their intentional states, from a subjective point of view. From this perspective, intentional content is internally determined (given that phenomenology is). On the other hand, Loar is convinced (by arguments given by Tyler Burge) that mental states also have externally determined contents, fixed by objective facts about thinkers’ sociolinguistic environments. This paper argues that Loar’s theory of intentionality is compromised by his acceptance of the Burgean intuitions (which do not, their power and influence notwithstanding, support anti-individualism) and by an overly narrow view of the scope of phenomenology.

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David Pitt
California State University, Los Angeles


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